Independence – Starting Out

The funny thing about the internet is how very few people realise that never before in human history has it been easier for someone to:

  1. Learn some new skills

  2. Design and build a product using the skills you’ve learned

  3. Distribute the product to a worldwide market

  4. Get feedback from users of the product and improve it iteratively

All for minimal cost. All independently.

While not a product per se, I saw traces of this potential when I started this blog mainly to share my experiences with amateur wildlife photography. I really didn’t expect to reach thousands of readers across the world on a regular basis given the relatively niche content I was putting out.

One of the aspects that I most enjoyed about studying Computer Engineering was being able to create programs from scratch, shaping it to your vision, and then having someone use it to better their lives. 

Unfortunately, being a cog in a corporate machine deprives you of such pleasures of owning something end-to-end. I didn’t want to be a cog in a corporate machine all my life. I needed something to create and ship out something on my own.

This was why in 2018, I decided to complete Paul Hegarty’s venerable CS193P course that’s taught to Stanford undergraduates. Challenging assignments included (if a CS assignment isn’t challenging, it’s not worth doing). After completion, I never actually got around to shipping something to the App Store despite the many ideas floating in my head.

Then two things I saw in 2019 made me jump into iOS app development with both feet tucked in.

  1. The introduction and demo of SwiftUI at Apple’s WWDC

  2. This tweet by Sahil Lavingia

So for the past six months, I’ve been on a quest to “productive myself”, spending nights and weekends learning the idiosyncratic intricacies of Swift, SwiftUI and PHP, testing out concepts with friends and family, setting up servers, incorporating a company, opening a borderless bank account etc and finally shipping an app to the App Store. 

All independently, all for minimal costs. 

This would never have been possible without the excellent free resources, the relatively low cost of entry into the iOS development ecosystem and the global reach of the iOS App Store. Something made possible by the internet.

And I couldn’t be more pleased to introduce Yūjō, an privacy-first app that helps you maintain and deepen relationships on a 1-1 basis.

This is only the first of many releases for Yūjō and there’s still a long way for it to get to where I want it to be. 

Please consider giving it a try and give me some feedback if you’d like to support this site.

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